Automatica brings music, podcasts and audiobooks to your car

I have the basic entertainment options in my car: a standard dashboard radio and CD player. But what I'd really like to listen to are my favorite podcasts. I can dial up Stitcher or some other podcast app on my smartphone, but that sucks down battery power and runs up my data usage.

Automatica is a new gadget that will deliver your favorite songs, podcasts and audiobooks without hogging your smartphone. 

The device is about the size of an iPod and it costs about $99. It downloads and stores digital content from a designated online storage service such as Dropbox or Google Drive. You park the audio files online and Automatica scoops them up using your home Wi-Fi network. 

The gadget can store up to 24 hours of music and talk in its internal memory and more on an optional microSD card. 

One caveat: Your car has to have a USB port connected to the dashboard stereo. Those are pretty common in cars built in the past five years or so. Automatica also provides a web-based service that lets you manage content and configure the device through any browser.

The Automatica is  among several new devices designed to make our smart cars get even brainier. For a round-up, check my latest column at

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